London, UK -- The Burma Human Rights Network welcomes the public designation of four senior military figures by US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, but calls on the United States to follow with targeted sanctions against military owned companies and businesses. The four military figures were Burma’s Military Commander and Chief, Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win, Brigadier General Than Oo, and Brigadier General Aung Aung. The US sanctioned the four for their roles in crimes in northern Rakhine State against the Rohingya and what the State Department described as ethnic cleansing. The designation will prohibit travel to the United States for the four generals and their immediate families but does not affect them economically.
“The State Department’s public designation of Min Aung Hlaing and three others is a major step in acknowledging and punishing their cruel and inhumane actions against the Rohingya and other minorities inside of Burma. We would like to thank Mr. Pompeo and the dedicated staff at the State Department for taking these steps but we also ask them to go further as the military will not be thwarted from committing further crimes by symbolic actions alone. We are hopeful that targeted sanctions against military owned companies and businesses will follow, and that other nations will do the same. It is time that the world recognizes the awful crimes committed by these men and that they are held accountable,” said BHRN Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
National Verification Card – A Barrier to Rohingya Repatriation
The Burma Human Rights Network, in cooperation with Queen Mary University of London’s International State Crime Initiative, is proud to reveal its latest report, NVC: A Barrier To Rohingya Repatriation focusing on Burma’s deeply troubling National Verification Card (NVC) process. The NVC is often portrayed as a stepping stone to citizenship for the Rohingya but BHRN believes this process to further marginalize the Rohingya and that it ultimately enhances apartheid conditions in Rakhine State. BHRN disputes claims by the Burmese authorities that the NVC is being used as a stepping stone to citizenship for the Rohingya or that it has any useful purpose as a tool to verify the identities of returning refugees.
“Burma has convinced many in the world that the NVC process will help the Rohingya to become citizens and grant them greater rights in the country but this is clearly false. The NVC has been in use for years as a tool to identify Rohingya as foreigners and they have not received any greater rights as a result. The international community must not go along with Burma on this endeavor and should instead insist upon citizenship and full rights for the Rohingya,” said BHRN’s executive director, Kyaw Win.
London, UK -- The Burma Human Rights Network is extremely alarmed by the continued fighting, deaths of individuals in the custody of Burmese authorities, and worsening humanitarian situation in Rakhine State amid the conflict between the Burmese Military and the ethnic insurgent group, the Arakan Army. The conflict in Rakhine stems from the conflict in Burma’s Kachin State, where the Arakan Army first formed, but spread to Rakhine State and worsened significantly over the past year. Most recently a 28-year-old man named Zaw Win Hline died under suspicious circumstances while in military custody in Rakhine’s Mrauk U Township. He is the 14th civilian to die in military custody in Rakhine State this year, according to The Irrawaddy.
“The number of civilian deaths, reports of torture, arbitrary arrests, and worsening humanitarian situation should be alarming for the entire international community. The issue has seldom been raised and Burma has not been held to account for their continued violations of human rights and international norms. The international community should act now, to avoid repeating the mistakes of past inaction,’ said BHRN’s executive director, Kyaw Win.
London, UK -- Burma Human Rights Network applauds the July 3rd statements at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva by the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. In her statements to the council, the Special Rapporteur directed strong criticism against both the Burmese Military and Government for crimes committed in conflict and systematic failures and abuses by the central government and authorities.
“Ms. Lee’s statements are greatly appreciated in a time where many in the international community struggle to speak the truth. Her acknowledgment of the ongoing crimes and wrongs done to religious and ethnic minorities is heartening for these communities to know that they have not been forgotten”, said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.